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Pinned Necks

Michael Gurian developed an innovative method for attaching necks to both Classical and Steel String guitar bodies. Borrowing from a tried-and-true timber-framing technique of inserting a pin through eccentric holes in a mortise and tenon neck joint he was able to create a very serviceable neck joint. Cumpiano and Natelson further promoted this technique in their book Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology. However, even with the popularity of this publication there is little evidence of widespread use of this technique in Steel String construction, and even less in the Classical guitar world.

I decided to build a Classical using this pinned-neck technique. I met with some challenges, mostly due to not fashioning a pair of pin-setting pliers to seat the ebony pins  used to hold the neck in place. Nonetheless, the pinned neck did allow me to fine-tune the neck angle on the instrument; something I would not have been able to accomplish if I had used the traditional Spanish Heel approach.

Surprisingly, I have found little discussion or debate about this long-forgotten construction technique. Too bad… it really offers so much flexibility. I suppose, with the widespread popularity of the bolt-on neck, wooden pins seem a bit antiquated. However, there is a certain panache associated with this wood-on-wood approach to neck attachment.

I’m experimenting with variants of this technique with intent on coming up with a fully adjustable and removable neck, including a truss-rod to allow adjustment of relief.

As much of a traditionalist that I am, I see no reason not to think out-of-the-box with Classical guitar construction and provide clients with a fully adjustable instrument.

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